The surgery is one week from today.

I'm responding in part by trying to get everything organized now, while I have memory and intellect, while I have predictable energy levels and schedule.  I've made lists:  what we should pack, what our friends should pack for Maybelle when she comes up, what Maybelle's schedule will be while we're gone, the contact information of every person she'll interact with.  I've written down all my usernames and passwords so that Biffle will have them in case I'm out of it.  I've gotten in touch with all of Maybelle's therapists.  I've finished my annual evaluation early, I've put together a panel for the National Women's Studies Association Conference, I've had conversations with the interim director of Women's and Gender Studies and with my dean.  We're shopping this weekend so that the house is well stocked for the friends who are staying with Maybelle.

Biffle pointed out today that this may be the hardest part of the process for me.  I love a task, and at this point, there's not much I can do beyond getting my personal and professional lives ready for my temporary absence.  My therapist observed that I’m going to be experiencing complete dependency on my neurosurgeon—as he put it, my “intelligence and hard work won’t make a bit of difference during the surgery itself.”  So I'm compensating by putting my organizational skills to work wherever I can.  Can't hurt, and it might help.

This is a coping mechanism, of course, because right now--one week away--it's very easy to think about hard things.  Big things.  To worry.  Let's just say I've been thinking about Maybelle a lot.  So instead of letting myself dwell on worst case scenarios and terrible fears that seem far too possible, I'm getting all my ducks in a row.


Aaron Bibb said...

I hope it goes as smoothly as possible for you both - I'll be thinking about you guys.

The Dad said...


You are right. I have found a lot of the time, the anticipation of an event is more difficult than the event itself.

You've had all this time to think. What if this...what if that... But having been through situations "similar" to this, once you get in the process of getting it done, it all goes by very fast.

For my surgery, I felt like it should have been a major event with bands and speeches and a groundhog seeing its shadow. But, it was just part of the process for the experts that do this for a living.

Weeks to think... and 4-6 hours to fix... and then you are on the short road back to "normalcy" (or as normal as we get).

Feels are OK

The Dad

Tawanda Bee said...

Quackin down here in Nashville

RNW said...

Your dad is a smart one. The anticipation and anxiety caused by the waiting is awful...and it seems like a very normal coping skill to me to do what you are doing right now - taking care and control of everything over which you have control right now in a situation that feels beyond your control. For those of us who like control, we don't like things that are beyond our control!

Don't forget to breathe deeply every now and again.

Wishing you ALL THE BEST for a speedy, healthy, smooth operation and recovery and then back to your lovely life and family.

Quiche said...

A "box of fluffy ducks"* to you, meaning I am wishing that all will be well with you and your lovely ones (:

*A New Zealand colloquialism meaning all is well, usually in reply to "How are you"...you mentioned ducks and it seemed apropos.

If I have posted this twice, please forgive...I'm between Windoze Vista/Chrome browser and Ubuntu/Firefox browser dual boot, and it didn't seem to confirm my posting on Chrome.

sabrina said...

i used this strategy as well, and view it as a valid coping skill. otherwise, what are we doing? sitting around worrying? for what it's worth, mine went just as planned. totally different, i know, but hear ONLY success stories. ALL shall be well, and YOU shall be well.

Curtis said...

I wish you & Walter all the best.

Sarah M. said...

Alison -

Perhaps all of that planning was also a way to psychologically prepare yourself for the surgery?

A piece of my heart is with you as you embark on a new and unplanned journey. I will be sending positive energy to all involved (including that neurosurgeon).

James loves his new book and cd!


Elizabeth W. said...

I am hoping that all goes well. I found my surgery for cancer to be something that I don't remember. I simply trusted the doctors, woke up freezing and asking for a blanket in recovery, and then got moved to a room where I slept.
I wish you a good recovery. And will look forward to seeing you soon.

Deborah Siegel said...

I am sending you duck-organizing thoughts, Alison! This indeed seems a very natural and human response. You have a very wise The Dad. And very soon, you will be on the other side of all this waiting, and your task will be recovering, a task far more amenable to goal-oriented folks like us. In the meantime, you have so many people carrying you in our hearts and wishing you well. Which you SHALL be. xo Deborah

Abi said...

Of course it's a coping mechanism, but it's still incredibly valuable. And it shows what a great mama and smart woman you are. I know you'll do great. How do I know? I just know! You know what I really enjoy about operating rooms? The lack of germs. How often in life do you get to be so...clean? Thinking of you, friend.